Snow skiing is one of the most popular winter sports in the world. Millions of people hit the slopes every year for fresh air and fun, and a large percentage of them are beginners. This is a fun sport, but it is equipment-oriented. Without the proper ski gear it can be frustrating, discouraging, and even dangerous.
This article will help guide you in selecting the best equipment for your level and style of skiing. Skis are the single most important piece of ski equipment. Choosing the right pair of skis will help you get the most enjoyment out of your skiing time.
Your Skill Level
The most important factor in choosing a pair of skis is your skiing ability. Beginners and intermediate level skiers need skis that can be easily maneuvered, while experts require more specialized skis. When choosing a pair of skis, the variables include materials, type, length, shape, and stiffness.
Materials Used In Skis
Skis were originally made of wood, but very little wood is used in modern skis. The most common materials used today are aluminum and fiberglass. Other more exotic materials like Kevlar, carbon, titanium, and boron fibers are also used.
Skis are frequently made from a variety of materials to provide various degrees of flexibility and strength in the different sections of the ski. The core of the ski can be made of foam, wood or some other material. The tops and sides are usually made of aluminum and fiberglass. The base of the ski is a synthetic polyethylene, with edges of steel.
Type Of Skiing
There are several different types of skiing and, therefore, different ski designs. For example, cross country skis are longer and thinner than downhill skis, because they are made for gliding along straight paths, rather than making quick turns down a hill. Furthermore, downhill skis come in a variety of shapes and styles, depending on whether they will be used for freestyle, powder, racing or packed trails.
Length Of Skis
Most beginners start off with a pair of short skis because they are easier to turn; also some freestyle skiers use short skis. Longer skis are faster, so racers and expert skiers who like the challenge of a fast run use them. They are also suitable for a greater variety of snow conditions. Skiing ability, style, and the weight of the skier determines the proper ski length.
Various Shapes Of Skis
Skis come in various shapes to match the different types of skiing. For instance, skis that are narrow in the boot area are capable of making sharp, fast turns. Skis that are wider in the boot area offer more stability and will make broader turns. The overall length of the ski, when taken into consideration with the various shapes, results in skis with a wide range of characteristics.
The stiffness of a ski is determined by the materials and shape. Shorter skis offer a greater maneuverability at the expense of high-speed stability, while longer skis are more stable at high speeds. Your skiing level and style will enable you to choose skis of the appropriate stiffness.
In Part 2 of this article we will examine tips for renting and buying the right skis for a successful and fun day on the slopes.
Copyright 2006 Ron King.